Monday Mornings with Madison

Making Time to Sharpen the Saw

Word Count:  1,399

Estimated Read Time: 5 ½  min.

Most people are familiar with the late Stephen Covey’s famous book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.   First published in 1988, the business / self-help book offered an approach to being more effective in achieving goals by aligning oneself to what Covey referenced as the “true north” principles.  He saw those seven principles as universal and timeless.  Later he added an eighth principle.  By far his best-known book, Covey’s Seven Habits have sold more than 25 million copies in 40 languages worldwide. The audio version became the first non-fiction audio-book in U.S. publishing history to sell more than one million copies and has now sold over 1 ½ million audio copies to date.  More recently, Covey’s son wrote and published a simplified version of the book titled The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens.  The Seven Habits philosophy lives on with Millennials and iGens. Continue reading

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Making Content Contagious

Word Count:  1,520 

Estimated Read Time: 6  min.

In the medical world, a virus is an infective agent that cannot grow or reproduce apart from a living cell.   A virus invades living cells and uses their chemical machinery to keep itself alive and replicate.  Most viruses are harmful.  In the digital world, a virus is a piece of code that is capable of copying itself and typically has a detrimental effect.   But in the marketing world, when a piece of content such as a video, image or ad goes ‘viral’ – circulated rapidly and widely from one Internet user to another – that is cause for celebration.  It is the most desired, but also most elusive, outcome for any marketing effort. Continue reading

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Overcoming Most People’s Biggest Fear: Speaking in Public, Part 2

Word Count:  1,619 

Estimated Read Time: 6  min.

Preparing to Speak

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.”  Fear is the great conqueror.  Fear is a paralyzing and malevolent force that lies, cheats and steals.  Fear of speaking in public – which is one of the most common but also one of the most undermining fears to have — whispers lies in the mind of a person, robbing him (or her) of the ability to share ideas, influence decisions, connect with others and lead groups.  By keeping a person silent, fear of public speaking steals away achievements, promotions, and raises.  Fear of speaking in public cheats a person from reaching his fullest potential and making his greatest contributions to the world.  It not only robs him of success, it also robs others of his voice and wisdom.  Fear of speaking in public is a prison of a person’s own making. Continue reading

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Overcoming Most People’s Biggest Fear: Speaking in Public

Word Count:  1,421 

Estimated Read Time: 6  min.

Part 1 – Preparing to Speak

Forget heights, planes and confined spaces.  Snakes, spiders and frogs move over.  Most people’s biggest fear is talking in public.  Standing up and speaking in front of a group of strangers is downright paralyzing to a great many people.  Giving a speech.  Teaching a class.  Addressing a group at a social gathering.  For many, these are all scenarios that cause some people to complete freeze.  Perhaps that is why those who are particularly good at it can make a living doing it.  Gifted motivational speakers such as Tony Robbins, Les Brown, Zig Ziglar, Dr. Wayne Dyer and Jim Rohn earn seven figure salaries annually and their primary job is to speak in public. Continue reading

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Preparing a Business for Emergencies

Word Count:  1,342 

Estimated Read Time: 5 ½  min.

While it might seem impossible to prepare for the “unexpected”, business owners must think about and prepare for crisis situations. Some of those might be man-made, such as a cyber attack by hackers. More commonly, though, those unexpected events are those of nature, such as the massive flooding of the last few weeks experienced in Houston due to Hurricane Harvey and the rampant forest fires that are sweeping through California right now. Blizzards. Tornadoes. Earthquakes. There is no limit to the kinds of crises that businesses can experience, and they can happen anywhere, any time. Whether natural or man-made, these events are a cautionary admonition that the unexpected can and does happen. Continue reading

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Getting Back in High Gear after a Vacation

Word Count:  1,613 

Estimated Read Time:  6 min.

Everyone needs a vacation every so often.  According to countless studies, people need time to disconnect from work and allow time for “play.”  For some, play might mean just relaxing at home, reading a book and doing some gardening.  For others, play may constitute high-adrenaline sports such as snowboarding, skydiving or bungee jumping.  For the vast majority, play is all about changing scenery and exploring a new place and all that entails.  Culture; architecture; cuisine; language; history; the arts.  Whether it’s an adventurous vacation or a calm staycation, the one thing all vacations have in common – if done right — is a complete disconnect from daily grind of work.  It’s a mental break… as in breaking away from the day-to-day routine.  Even people who love what they do for a living and thoroughly enjoy their jobs need an occasional vacation. Continue reading

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To Amp Up Productivity, Creativity and Career Success, Go on Vacation

Word Count:  1,368 

Estimated Read Time:  5 ½ min.

Attention workaholics, movers and shakers, corporate climbers and rising stars!  Want to increase your productivity?  Have a desire to get your creative juices really flowing?  Hustling to shift your career into hyper-drive?  If you answered yes to any or all three of these questions, then there is one simple thing you can do that will help with all.  Stop working and go on vacation.  As counter-intuitive as that may sound, a vacation is the best way to increase output, inspire the imagination into high gear and achieve even greater career success.  If this sounds like millennial HR hype, it’s not.  Vacations are essential for long-term success. Continue reading

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Overcoming the “Bad Day” Blues

Word Count:  1,328 

Estimated Read Time:  5 ½ min.

Everyone has had a “bad day” at one point or another.  Certainly everyone in business – and especially in sales – has had bad days… periods when nothing seems to go right.  And every business owner has most likely endured his or her share of bad times.  An important piece of equipment breaks.  A big account switches to a competitor.  The computer network goes down during a peak time.   A deal falls apart.   It happens.  In fact, bad days can even stretch out into weeks or months or longer.  2009 was a downright bad year for builders, investors, bankers, lenders and financiers.  Many could not take the stress and left the real estate and financial sectors in search of greener pastures.  Those “bad day” blues can be devastating… even killing careers.  But they needn’t be so damaging. Continue reading

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Turning Storytelling into Sales

Word Count:  1,476 

Estimated Read Time:  6  min.

Great storytelling – from Rumpelstiltskin to War and Peace– is one of the basic tools invented by the human mind for the purpose of understanding. There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.  Storytelling has been important to every people in history.   It is a cornerstone of human existence, enabling people to communicate and connect.  It’s been a primary tool used in government, religion, education, and – of course — business.  The world’s most persuasive, compelling, and successful communicators were all great storytellers.  Socrates was a great storyteller.  Ben Franklin was even better.  Walt Disney was masterful. Continue reading

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How Good is Your Company’s Storytelling?

Word Count:  1,229 

Estimated Read Time:  5  min.

Today’s sales and marketing efforts require good storytelling.  But storytelling is nothing new.  Even before people could write, they were telling each other engaging stories to share information.  That’s because no one is – or has ever been — interested in absorbing dry information.  Even with today’s technology, dry information is still unpalatable whether it is delivered in a print ad, a radio commercial or video. Information is simply more likely to be accepted if it comes gift-wrapped in a story.  Storytelling has the power to transform drab business details into something interesting. Continue reading

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